Tag Archives: sensitivity

Friday Feelings

I have had company for four nights and three full days. My company has been lovely, low key, low maintenance and really a good time but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely LOVING the quiet of my apartment right now. I have been 100% alone for about four hours now, I have not uttered a single word but to the cat.  Blissful I tell you.

I know three days doesn’t seem like much (and I feel horribly guilty that I have so little staying power), but then again, the kids playing outside of the school next door might not be much to you either. A normal day for me involves a little bit of time, retreated into the bedroom with a game or a book. It sometimes has a long subway ride where I sit quietly by myself, or next to my husband, not talking. Reading. Just zoning out to myself.  For introverts and highly sensitive people a like, that quiet recharge time is SO important. It’s taken me a long time to learn this about myself, but I really do need a LITTLE alone time in my life. It helps me. It resets me. It allows me to take a breath and get back up and moving. Without it, I feel frazzled and exhausted. Yesterday morning, I was on the verge of tears because I just felt like I could NOT get up and sight see one more minute. I got up, we got food and it got better but it was touch and go for a little bit.  Add to all of that, that I live in less than 500 square feet and my friend slept on my couch in my livingroom. Add to that, that I am the only person who cooks. Who gets up and says, “Okay let’s go out!”. Who gets anything moving or makes plans.

Friends, I am toast. I really am and I am looking forward to emptying my DVR and barely leaving my apartment this weekend.

*

A very close friend of mine has been ill, on and off for years.  He was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a year or two ago and while avoiding gluten made him feel better, there were still things that did not clear up. I just found out today that they are waiting on blood test confirmation, but that he most likely has Lupus.  I feel so bad that I have not been around like I should have been for him.

He can’t talk about this with his wife as she is expecting any day now and has a whole host of her own issues due to her maternal size and so forth. I worry about how prepared they are. I worry about her health (or lack there of) and their baby being healthy. I worry that she now has to deliver in a completely different town because her BMI and size has made it so that no doctors want to deliver locally. That they need to go where there is a better NICU.

All of this I’ve been worried about too. Just, lots of worry for my friend, his wife and their baby waiting to be born.

*

My doula training starts two weeks from TODAY. I suddenly got a huge jolt of energy just thinking about it. Thinking about the fact that while a good chunk of my life is in chaos and is not perfect, I am taking ONE step just for me. Not for anyone else but for me. One step that will be the first of many to get where I want. At least one of the places I want to be.

I’m excited. I am hopeful. I just really want to be the support that women deserve. I want to share the love and care that I have in my heart.

*

I am going to get back into writing poetry. I wrote when I was younger quite a bit. I droned on and on about lost love when I was a teenager. I loved writing.  I rediscovered it a couple years ago and have since fallen out of practice.  I’m not one of those people that words just come to. It takes work. It takes writing down things every day even if they are just a phrase or two. Even if they never make it into a ‘proper’ poem.

I really loved being able to express myself in that manner and I would like to get back into it.  I think it’s a good part of my self discovery and this journey that I am on. This path.  I have a page where I share my poetry here. As I read over the past, I realize that they are some pretty violent and sometimes graphic images. Maybe even a bit emo, so, be kind please. They are snippets from moments in my life. Some of them.  Others are simple wordplay without a deeper meaning.

I hope you like what I have written of my past and what I will write of my future.

*

I think of a lot of people, often. People I’ve never met. People I have grown to love and cherish over time. People I’ve learned about by scouring their blogs, reveling in their honesty and the vulnerability in their words or perhaps their humor or way of being. I think so, so often.

I don’t think I speak up enough so I am going to try to do that. I’m going to send the emails waxing poetically about how amazing this person is when I think it.  I’m not going to worry about how odd it might sound, I’m just going to do it because I know what a difference a kind word can make.

So if you think no one is listening or watching. If you think no one is reading. Just trust me. I lurk a lot. I think a lot and I love a lot.  I’ll try to tell you more often that I saw something your child would love or that I am amazed that you are still standing. I’ll do my best to tell you that I thought of you this morning, and was proud you got out of bed or that I am proud of you for going to the Doctor.  I will work hard to tell you how SORRY I am that you’re going through so much, that you are so strong for taking care of everyone, that I see where you’re hurting even though you keep going and that I love you. I promise you that I will let you know the little things that I seem to censor day in and day out.

If you’re reading this – you’re lovely. I will try to tell you more often. I don’t want to miss my chance to let you know you’re loved and that you matter.

*

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Case of the Mondays

Well, kind of. It’s more a scattered, unsettled feeling. Thoughts are spinning and flying by without me being able to catch them to examine them. It’s like their way of staying put. If I can capture them, then they might go away. Annoying, but it’s how my brain is so often. Just a mash of random things, mixed in like a full emulsion, the unimportant hiding the ‘omg important!’ ones, making me jittery, unable to relax and just moody.

SO! Here are some thoughts that have popped into my head today. (Edited to add: This is a LONG post folks. I didn’t mean for it to be, but it is. You’ve been warned)

Apples are not an easy-eat food for me. When people talk about eating something ‘like an apple’, for me, that would be cutting out the core, and slicing into 1/4 inch slices give or take. I can’t remember the last time I just bit into one and went to town. I do the same with peaches and pears as well. Freestone things are easy though because the pit just twists outta there and makes for easy slicing.

I have some family sads. None of my family ever visited me in Vancouver, despite me being there for almost eight years on the nose. I had one friend from high school visit, and a few Canadian friends visit. But that’s it. I was guilted regularly for being so far away, for not calling; but no one ever came. Usually citing finances as an obstacle. I watched as they traveled to see family across the US a few times, but never me. It’s kind of one of those things that doesn’t bother me until someone triggers that…then boom. Sad.

Wedding Thompsons
The Thompson Family at my Wedding

None went to my wedding either. It was a rather quick affair in a park with about 20 people. I see the beautiful wedding photos that people have with all their friends and family dancing and having a blast. While I realize it just…wouldn’t be like that with my family and that we had a LOVELY time at the restaurant we chose with a close group of friends, it is sometimes hard to look back on that day without a few regrets. And that is sad.

The 'Reception' at my favorite restaurant.
The ‘Reception’ at my favorite restaurant.

I might be getting tired of snark. The ‘cool kids’ are always sarcastic, witty and quick with a comeback.  I’m starting to feel like, the offhanded sarcasm is meant well but it always ends up hurting someone. You may not know about it, they might not always speak up out of fear or what have you, but it always bothers someone. Someone ends up taking it personally and it always applies to someone.  I’ve been on what feels like the receiving end of this* lately and it isn’t good. I have begun to find myself censoring what I say on Facebook and now Twitter, afraid to speak, simply because I just don’t want to deal with the responses. They are rarely helpful and almost always I take them personally. There are some people on social media that intimidate me because of that and I just don’t know how to interact with them. I keep trying though.

I’m going to try very hard, to be kinder and be wary of who I may offend or hurt with what I say. Even if unintentionally. I want to think of those that aren’t always thought of, before I speak.  Much like during the elections (when Ginger wrote an AMAZING post – truly, go read it), sometimes you never know who might associate with that party, or philosophy you’re spouting off against. I’m sorry to those I’ve isolated or made to feel badly in the past.

I am scared to go back to work.  I haven’t worked in over two years. Prior to that, I had a job that was not in my ‘field’. I will most likely, never have a job in the field I graduated in. I don’t really want it if I’m honest. With all of this, it means I haven’t interviewed or job searched for oh…8 years. It’s intimidating and I feel so anxious about it. I’m anxious about what hours I’ll get, what time I’ll work, what the work will be like. My last job, while I loved it, also came with a whole host of energetic bull crap. Dealing with people in pain, day in and day out as well as busy doctors and practitioners? It’s a load on the ol’ system for some. I loved what I did, but it absolutely took a toll on me personally. So, I worry. Which takes a toll too. Oh boy. I swear, I am a fun person.

That said, I have a lower key hiring event to go to this weekend. Kind of a meet-and-greet style gathering which I feel pretty darn good about. In person, in a low stress environment, I think I make a great impression. I believe in the products I would be demonstrating and selling, I am upbeat. I smile. I enjoy talking to people and sharing things that I love with them (as many of you can tell on Twitter. Hah). I feel like this job would be a fairly low stress job, with good perks, a good company philosophy and…I think I’d just enjoy it. It’s a stop gap while I train to become what I really want to be – a midwife.  So. Fingers crossed for me friends.

I should own this costume. (Source)

I am a vegetable spaz. Seriously. When I shop I just want to buy ALL THE VEGGIES. This comes from wanting the nutrition, but also just LOVING almost every vegetable out there and wanting it covered in butter or cheese in my face. I already have a freezer, fridge and counter full of vegetables that I cannot possibly use up and yet I still am dreaming of even more. Use what you’ve got, sistah!

I want to be vegan, completely, but dang it is hard work. I know that I CAN do it. I really do. I just am not sure I am in the spot to do it right now. With all the changes I’ve got going on here and still not really having a grocery ‘routine’, I think maybe now isn’t the time. I need to be able to get on a schedule, have a few prep routines on the weekend or whenever and really nail it down. Add to this wanting to be more fit, exercise more etc.

I do believe it is the best for my health, for the world we live in and for the health and welfare of farm animals though. So, I will do it. I think slowly reducing the dairy and eggs I eat will be a good start. Bit by bit. I’m not one of those cold turkey kind of people I don’t think and that’s okay.

Overly positive people drive me crazy. I feel like – that can’t be ALL that is there. I’m all for gratitude and deciding to be happy and the like, but if you never show a crack? That’s not real. Is it? Am I just a negative Nancy here? You know the people. The ones that post inspirational messages every day on Facebook, never ever mention their struggles or bad days. The ones that say, “I am home sick today and feel pretty awful, but at least I get some lovely couch time with my loves!” I can so appreciate their ability to find light in the darkness, and wish I could see the light a bit more sometimes but often wish they’d show a crack sometimes. This isn’t me wishing someone to fail, but wishing someone to let go. To be honest. Truthful. To be vulnerable.

Perhaps that’s more a reflection of myself that it is them. Maybe? I don’t know. I just enjoy people that are real. So many of you folks that I interact with on a near daily basis feel…so real. You have shitty days/weeks/months that suck. Ones that call for your friends to love you a bit extra, hug you and vocalize their support. Then you are still not afraid, in the midst of it, to shout to the rooftops when you’ve had something wonderful happen. Neither cancel out the other and it’s just…okay. It’s how it is. It’s life. Does any of this make sense?

So, thanks folks, for being real. For not being afraid to show the good and the bad. The inspirational and the depressing. The sad and the happy. I want to see it all. I really do. I get frustrated with superficial friendships that feel like someone is hiding something from you. I really do appreciate it, when you share both. I always, truly want to know.

OH! And if I ask you “Hey, how are you?” I…actually want to know. So please. Tell me truthfully!

I love my bed.  It’s a cheap platform bed with a cheap memory foam mattress, but I just want to lie on it all the time. Alone. I don’t want to share. I’ve never ever loved a bed like this before, or a bedroom. This one? I want to be in there and be still and quiet, reading or writing. I have curtains that make it a bit darker without blacking out the light completely and it feels so cozy.  We’ve done a really good job so far, with a very minimal budget, to make this little apartment a sweet home for a bit. I think it’s so necessary and am glad that’s where the money has gone.

Kindness Matters. Oh holy hell friends. It SO matters. I constantly feel like I want to hug each and every one of you that is having ‘a day’. It isn’t a superficial feeling, it really truly is a feeling of wishing I could squeeze you and make it just a tiny bit better. Just so you know.

Last week I was having one hell of a day. I didn’t say too much about it, but commented to a few friends with kindness and whoa. It came back to me 100 fold. Shalini made me feel like I had made a little difference in someone’s life, and further solidified my desire to buy her a kale salad if she makes it to NYC in the near future. (Maybe a book tour? huh huh? Hint hint?)  Kammah. Man. She just made me feel like SOMEONE understood me. Someone saw me for how I feel inside. For the kindness and love I feel inside for just about everyone. Every living thing. For someone who lives their life feeling constantly misunderstood and like they have to explain themselves to everyone – this was huge. It truly made my day that without prompting, she just…got me.  Then a gentleman moved on the train, so I could sit down with my grocery bags, next to Andrew. After a bit of a morning freakout, Christina made me stop and pause, and to really spend a couple moments being more gentle with myself. She is always such a good support and a good reminder to take it EASIER.

Seriously. Honestly friends. Kindness matters. If you feel something positive – share it. If you like someone’s hair that day. Say so. If you think someone’s child is lovely – say so. If you are silently amazed by a parent or a person – TELL THEM. Just, speak up. Even if it seems small. It might just make a difference. It has for me.

*I am an anxious person and sensitive by nature, so I take full responsibility for the fact that I take things personally and often feel more hurt than perhaps I ‘should’. 

What’s on your mind these days? I really actually want to know. Spill it!

Listen Up

There are so many topics out there that are heavily polarized. One side thinks the other is crazy. The other side thinks the first side is nuts. And neither side is very kind about it. We’ve seen this day in and day out with politics and it just seems to be the way things are right now, but I have a problem with it.

Note: This is not going to be a post arguing vaccine safety, gun control, the right type of ‘diet’ or animal cruelty. While I realize I am opening myself up to such scrutiny, I’m not looking for a debate on the issues and as such I’m closing the comments. If you’d like to send me a kind note, please do, ( salamanderpal at gmail) but know that I am really not into being berated or lectured. It’s taking me a lot of guts to put this out there, so please be kind.  I’m going to make my choices, and you can make yours and I’m pretty good with that.

That said, this is coming about due to my experience on social media with my political views and others. I am a liberal, hippie-crunchy vegetarian that disagrees with mandatory vaccination, is pained by factory farming and the slaughter of animals, and loves socialized medicine. It takes a LOT of guts and pep talking on my part to even POST a response, or something I believe in, simply for fear of the response. (Some will say – who cares what people think!? But…being sensitive I just can’t dismiss the replies, so I keep my mouth shut) I’m pretty familiar with being on the edge of things. It’s a tiring, exhausting place to be some days and biting my tongue gets painful.

I bite it because I don’t want to argue, not because I don’t care or don’t have strong views. I bite my tongue because inevitably, it won’t be a discussion where both people are heard and we agree to disagree with a better understanding of each other. I bite my tongue because nine times out of ten, it will devolve into accusations of stupidity and idiocy with a side of hurt feelings. I don’t care if you think killing animals is awesome, vaccination is the greatest thing we’ve ever done and it never hurts anyone or if MOAR GUNS is your battlecry. I do care, that you don’t call me names or be insensitive.

So maybe you can already tell, but my problem isn’t that I am on the minority side of things here. It tends to be my thing. My problem is exactly the same problem I had during the elections – the way one side ostracises the other. The way articles label the side they are not on as crazy, idiotic and just plain stupid for even questioning the ‘truth’.  The way they invalidate good peoples’ fears and concerns without batting an eyelash.

Guys, why do we do this?

I personally live in a constant state of feeling stifled. I realize some of this lies in my own sensitivity and fear of reaction, but should I have to fear being jumped on? Should I really keep my mouth shut, because I don’t want to get attacked? Called stupid? Made to feel inadequate or unintelligent? Told I clearly don’t believe in science? Made to feel like I must not understand or I’d feel differently? Really, should I fear all these things?

I don’t think so.

There are extreme ends to every issue and there always will be. Is it possible we make them even MORE extreme by our constant labeling and ostracism? By the way we immediately brush off their concerns or fears? By continually not validating people who buck the status quo? By villainizing the ‘other’ side or the minority, we make people more defensive, more aggressive and more rabid in their attempts at being heard. It’s really no wonder that speaking my mind gives me such great anxiety that it keeps me from doing so.

Questioning authority is a GOOD thing in my book. So much of the controversial topics have things that DO need more investigation by impartial parties. Studies. Research. Why are we teaching the world that questioning the rules is such an awful thing? Shouldn’t we be encouraging each other to think for ourselves and to keep pushing for truth? Truths change. Scientific theories have changed over the years, repeatedly as technology and innovation happens. We wouldn’t have many of the innovations we have if people hadn’t kept questioning. Kept seeking. Kept searching.

It’s easy to be big, to talk boldly and to stand up when you’re with the majority. It’s easy to talk about your beliefs when you know you’ll get support, without doubt. It’s not so easy when you’re in a minority without the same vocalization and safety in numbers. I’ll say from experience, it is REALLY FREAKING HARD to be brave enough to say – this is what I stand for – when you know you’re going to get shot down. When you know people will make you feel like an idiot, if they don’t actually call you one. When you know the majority won’t understand where you’re coming from, or even care. Then what happens is the loud majority gets heard, while the minority still gets stifled, ostracised and isolated.

When what they really need, is validation. They need someone to listen to them, and even if they don’t agree, say that they understand where they are coming from or at least WHY they feel/believe the way that they do. You don’t have to agree, but I feel like we take disagreement as a cue that we don’t have to listen or try to understand. I don’t need you to not vaccinate your children, but I do need you to hear my personal story with vaccine injury and maybe understand where I’m coming from. I don’t need you to agree that no one should carry a concealed weapon, but I do need you to hear my experiences and listen to me. I need you to understand my feelings on the matter, whether you agree or disagree and in return? I’ll do the same for you, as long as you’re not making me feel inadequate or calling me names. Really! That’s how it can work! If it is so clearly me vs. you, why do I need to understand?

Well, because it’s the only way that we’re going to get anywhere in this world. If two people on opposite sides of gun control can’t sit down and understand why they feel the way they do in a safe manner, how will effective policy ever be made? If the Pro-Vaccine people can’t hear the cries of those with injured or deceased children and be at the very least compassionate, we will just keep yelling at each other. If Democrats paint Republicans as conservative crazies and Republicans continually tell you that Democrats are one eyed monsters, well, who the hell is going to want to sit down and really understand each other? (If you’d like to see a well spoken speech on this, and the media’s effect on polarization, go look up the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Jon Stewart is pretty brilliant in my opinion with his words.)

I just don’t care what the issue is. Political parties. Gun control. Drugs. Vaccination. Religion. GMOs. Vegetarians vs. Cavemen. I don’t care. What I care about is that we watch how we talk about ‘the other side’. Both to their faces and in general. That we watch how we make others feel. That we be compassionate while discussing these things. That we don’t just say what idiots a group of people are, off the cuff without thinking. While it might be simple open and shut for you, it may not be for the other person. Maybe they’ve had a gun death, or a vaccine injury in their family that you don’t know about that has brought them to where they are. Maybe you’ve had other experiences that they don’t know about that have helped form your views.

Maybe before you tell someone how irresponsible they are for their choices, liken someone’s unvaccinated children to rabid dogs, tell someone they are a moron for owning a gun or call a group of believers idiots, think about the story they might have.  I know they can be impassioned topics, but we each have a reason for the views we take, we each have stories to tell and experiences that color our take on life. Why not share your story, rather than an aggressive argument? I just can’t help feeling that we’d get a lot farther in this world and even in our little pocket communities if we listened. Truly listened. Not to respond, but to understand.

I don’t need you to agree with me, but I do need you to respect my intelligence, my beliefs and my story. I promise, I’ll extend the same courtesy to you. (And maybe we can get our politicians to do similar 😉 )

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” 
― Stephen R. Covey